Plan sought for Alice Springs as curfew cools violence

Alice Springs urgently needs a long-term plan to prevent further eruptions of violence, advocates say after the Northern Territory town emerged from a three-night curfew.

NT Police Commissioner Michael Murphy said on Thursday there were no reasonable grounds to extend the ban on people entering the town's CBD between 10pm and 6am.

The curfew had been imposed as a "pressure-relief valve" for law enforcement officers after a string of violent incidents at the weekend, Chief Minister Eva Lawler said at the time.

Michael Murphy (left) and Brent Potter
Commissioner Michael Murphy is confident police resources are adequate for any further incidents.

Renewed clashes in Alice Springs had threatened to extend the curfew, with police arresting five people on Wednesday following a daytime feud in the town's centre.

But Mr Murphy said he was confident police resources were adequate to respond to any further instances of crime or anti-social behaviour, with additional officers stationed in the town over coming weeks.

"The declaration has had a noticeable effect in preventing public disorder within the CBD," he said in a statement on Thursday.

"The violent disturbances we saw yesterday outside of the Public Disorder Declaration operational hours, involving up to 100 people, will not be tolerated.

"The (curfew) is not a long-term solution, and I am mindful of the impact that decision has had on the broader community."

No arrests were made during curfew hours, but police engaged with 159 people across the three nights, including removing 18 people from the area.

The curfew played an important role in preventing alcohol-fuelled violence at night, Police Minister Brent Potter said.

Wednesday's brawl was related to the death of a teenager in a car accident in March and was not related to alcohol, he said.

The 18-year-old's death sparked violent recriminations between families and an initial three-week curfew that month.

Under controversial laws passed in May, the police commissioner can call a snap curfew but only the police minister can extend it at the commissioner's request.

Mr Potter said police would spearhead an operation over the next four days to deal with the influx of visitors to Alice Springs by supporting rough sleepers and ensuring residents from surrounding town camps left the town safely.

General view of Alice Springs CBD from Anzac Hill
Alice Springs violence follows thousands of people arriving in town for school holidays and events.

"People without a valid reason in Alice Springs will be supported back to their home," he told reporters.

NT Police confirmed about 5000 people travelled to Alice Springs in recent weeks for school holidays, the Alice Springs Show and NAIDOC Week.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he had been told during a recent visit to Alice Springs that the curfew had made a difference.

Alice Springs Mayor Matt Paterson said the curfew had worked to reduce violent incidents but called for longer-term solutions to address issues in the community.

"This is 30 years of policy on the run that's got Alice Springs and central Australia to where we are, and it's decisions driven out of Canberra and Darwin," he told ABC News.

"There is a vision for a long-term plan, and I think that that is welcomed.

"But what we need to do is speed that process up, because there will be no requirement for a long-term plan if these things continue in Alice Springs because it will drive good residents out of the community."

NT Opposition Leader Lia Finocchiaro blamed the territory's Labor government for exacerbating crime, by watering down laws and failing to back the police.

"It is decimating our tourism industry and seeing hundreds of Territorians leave every single year," she said.

Law and order will be a key issue for the Lawler government at the August election as Labor seeks a third term.

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